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>> this is bbc world news america reporting from washington. good economic news. what a change. u.s. unemployment falls to its lowest level in two years. as the standoff continues in syria, and the death toll mounts, the international community ramps up pressure on the assad regime. >> now warming temperatures have meant less sea ice. >> and a legendary broadcaster issues a warning on climate change and the impact it's having before our very eyes. welcome to our vurings on pbs america and around the world.
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8.6%. you will be hearing a lot of it from the white house. it's the number u.s. unemployment fell to last month. down a healthy chunk from october. it's a glimmer of good news for the u.s. economy. and it brings unemployment down to its lowest level in 2 1/2 years. no wonder president obama is smiling. >> merry christmas, everybody. >> and what a christmas gift the president has got. ♪ >> it's not exactly wonderland. but getting america's unemployment comfortably below 9% is a welcome boost. many of the 120,000 extra jobs created last month came in retail. shoppers dug into their purses and stores for extra workers to help. results, a little economic fairy dust. but mr. obama already knows the trend won't last if congress doesn't act. >> we need to keep that growth
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going. right now, that means congress needs to extend the payroll tax cut for working americans for another year. congress needs to renew unemployment insurance for americans who are still out there pounding the pavement looking for work. fame you're to take either of these steps would be a significant blow to our economy. >> and here's the more depressing reality behind the good news headline. the unemployment number is down in part because thousands of disspirited americans have given up even looking for work. as republicans were quick to point out, 13 million are still out of work. >> the obama administration promised that unemployment would not exceed 8%. if we passed another stimulus bill. that promise has gone unfulfilled. >> two, one -- >> president obama can't rest easy on one month figures but there is a glimmer of hope in these numbers and that's something anyone could love to
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find under the christmas tree. so despite today's gains, what plans does the administration have to put more americans back to work? i discuss that with the u.s. labor secretary hilda sol ills. -- solis. thank you very much for coming in. i'm thrilled to have you in on a day when we have good news to report on the u.s. economy. is this the turnaround americans have been waiting for? >> you know, we have to base our figures on a month-to-month basis. but i will say that if you look back last year at this time, the unemployment rate was 9.8%. and since that time, in a 21 -month period, we've actually seen three million jobs created in the private sector. and sometimes that's lost upon people. but we do have to underscore we still have a stubbornly high unemployment rate. but we're doing much better than we did in the last recession. in part because of what the president set out by reducing payroll taxes, extending the unemployment insurance, that took place last year in
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december. we do it again, we can see numbers hopefully going down and job creation going up. and then we can truly see some changes. and i believe that the public is now on our side. saying why not move ahead and do this? >> ok. but 300,000 workers dropped out of the work force last month. some americans are simply giving up on even trying to look for a job. >> but what i have to say is an equally good number of people have also found jobs. and what we found in the household survey that is also taken is that there are many people who have given up looking but they're starting their own jobs. so we have new enterprises, and we have new jobs that are being created by individuals. and that won't show up for some time. because it will end up coming out in our reports in the payroll data that we received. so i'm somewhat optimistic. but i remain very focused on job creation. >> ok. we are heading into the holiday season. on your crs mass wish list, -- christmas wish list, to get those 13 million americans who are still looking for work back into the labor force, what do you need to see happen? >> i think we need to see
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movement in the congress right away. we don't have time to waste at all. in fact, 1.2 million people will lose their unemployment insurance benefits if we do nothing. that will add to the increase in unemployment. if we don't provide a payroll tax extension, people are going to see an increase in their taxes. this is not the time to do that. and the president is saying we can pay for this through actually taxing the very wealthy. and most in the public agree that that's a way that we could go. now, hopefully they'll come to some compromise before christmas. >> but we've seen the unemployment number bounce along. we know that it can dip in one month and we know that after the boom of the retail sales and the christmas period goes over, we could see this number rise again, right? >> it could. but i will tell you that again, looking back, and in the course of 21-month period you are looking at private sector jobs created in each month, 160,000. on the average, so that tells you that we're on the right path. but we still need to do more to stimulate this economy. that's why we need congress to
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act with us to forget about partisanship and work on a bipartisan level. >> labor secretary hilda solis, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> in economic news from europe today, german chancellor angela merkel says it will take years to resolve the euro zone's debt crisis. mrs. merkel also told her parliament the work had begun to create a fiscal union which would provide greater stability among countries using the european single currency. meanwhile, president sarkozy has been meeting the british prime minister david cameron to discuss the franco german rescue plan. now, to syria, where after nine months of brutal crackdown, the united nations human rights council has finally voted to condemn the growth in systematic abuses there. a record 34 countries voted in favor. it comes as the u.s. vice president joe biden praised the role that syria's neighbor turkey has taken to put pressure upon the assad regime. from istanbul, jonathan head
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reports. >> a standoff in northwestern syria. at the moment, there's no shooting. a similar scene in other towns. especially in homs, in dahra, they're calling for more international help, for protected buffer zones. the uprising, president assad's opponents can't oust him. and he hasn't been able to stop the protests. but his efforts have exacted a heavy human cost. >> the commission to report documents, widespread systematic and gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by civilian authorities, by acts such as killing of children, by beating, or shooting during
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demonstrations, arbitrary detention, torture, and ill treatment. >> etc. an emotion -- the human rights council, delegates were given a chilling report. >> our message is firm and clear. to the people of syria, the world stands by you, and we will not ignore your plight in the face of ongoing violence. to the seizure government, the time has come to end the flagrant violations of the human rights of your people. and to step aside so that syria can transition peacefully and democratically. >> the council passed a resolution condemning the abuses. the high commissioner wants them referred to the international criminal court. but the report was dismissed by syria's representative. it lacked objectivity he said. the u.s. is leaning heavily on its ally turkey to push for change in syria. vice president joe biden was in the turkish capital today paying his respects to an
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earlier leader who helped this country to modernize. and piling praise on his turkish hosts for the example they offer to the rest of the middle east. but turkey has its own dilemma over syria, it fears further chaos there will destabilize their long border and drive waves of refugees to join the thousands who have already fled here. intervention by turkish troops, even to protect syrian civilians, is being ruled out for now. but events could yet change that policy. jonathan head, bbc news, istanbul. >> syrian refugees are forced to cross the border into turkey. at the end of a very rocky week in relations between london and tehran, the british ambassador to iran has spoken out about tuesday's attack on his embassy. the incident sparked diplomatic outrage. with britain closing the embassy and expelling all iranian diplomats based in london. today, the last of those diplomats left the u.k.
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>> on tuesday afternoon, protesters stormed into the british embassy. the ambassador and his core staff had to lock themselves into a safe room. and now pictures from the ambassador's own camera show how much damage they did and just how close they came to him and his staff. >> trying to smash the doors and the windows down below. but they couldn't get into our part of the building. except at one point where they got into one of the consular offices and started a fire. and in the end, it was the fire and the smoke coming up on the third floor corridor which forced us out. >> they were unhurt. but to the ambassador's horror, he faced a much bigger problem. he would send his nonessential staff to a separate residential compound to be safe. but protesters went after them as well. >> one colleague had locked himself in his keep, he had pressed the heavy safe against the iron door and pressed a bed
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against the safe. and he had braced hism against the bed. and -- himself against the bed. and they came for him because they knew he was there. you can imagine what it's like. they're banging on the doors and the windows. they're breaking the windows and trying to bash the door in. and he kept them out for about 45 minutes. but at the end, the door was broken around him and there was nothing we could do. >> eventually, he got out. protesters looted and stole hard drives. the ambassador's photos show that they went to work on a few british symbols. queen victoria's portrait barely survived. edward vii was defaced. british diplomats left tehran with a firm belief as to who was responsible. >> iran is not the sort of country where spontaneously demonstration congress are a gates and then attacks -- congregates and then attacks a foreign embassy. that sort of activity is only done with the acquiescence and the support of the state. >> that's why britain has expelled iran's diplomats from
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the u.k. this morning, they packed up. iran's diplomats are leaving in a hurry. iran's government has called the decision to close theen base a hasty one. -- close the embassy a hasty one. and they're already on their way. this afternoon the diplomats and their families left heathrow. now disagreements over nuclear activities and sanctions will have to be addressed at the u.n. iran and the u.k. talked for decades. still, they barely understand one another. now the last flight has left. and those misunderstandings are likely to get deeper. james reynolds, bbc news. >> extraordinary pictures there. and in egypt tonight, electoral authorities have begun announcing results of the first round of parliamentary elections. the muslim brotherhood is predicted to win the most votes in the election. but a more radical islamist
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party is also expected to do well. the authorities say voter turnout was more than 60%. 70 people have been wounded and one killed in a suicide bomb attack in logow province in eastern after fan began. -- in eastern afghanistan. most of the casualties were civilians. in burma, two of the world's most influential women promised to work together to promote democracy. u.s. secretary of state hillary clinton and nobel laureate aung san suukyi embraced on the final day of mrs. clinton's historic meeting. and the two faced the cap rass and promised -- the cameras and promised a unified front for changes in the long isolated and authoritarian nation. the state department correspondent is traveling with the secretary and during anent view, she asked what it was like to finally meet aung san suukyi face-to-face. >> very familiar and perhaps because i certainly have followed her over the years.
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and have communicated with her directly and indirectly. so it was like seeing a friend. you hadn't seen for a very long time. even though it was our first meeting. and it was also incredibly emotional and gratifying to see her free from the many years of house arrest and to see her once again leading her party and standing for elections in this new democratic process that they are trying to put into place. so it was -- for me a great honor and a delight to spend time with her. >> she nound it quite -- she found it quite positive, cautiously perhaps but positive about the past toward reform this country seems to be embarking on. are you on the same page? >> well, i think it's important for those of us on the outside,
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whether we're in government or in an n.g.o. or a human rights activist who appreciate how it looks from the inside. and certainly her perspective is there are signs of change that there is a rhetorical commitment to reform. i think it's very wise of her to take advantage of that, do everything she can to support it because as in any transition, as this one could very well be, there are those who are pushing reform. and there are those who are dead set against it. and then there is probably the most people in the middle trying to gauge which way they should jump. so anything that can be done which legitimates the reformist tendencies should be in her view, and i agree with this, validated and encouraged. but at the same time, you have to see continuing actions.
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it's not enough just to give a speech or to do a few things. there has to be a momentum behind reform. and, you know, we're waiting and watching for that. >> secretary of state hillary clinton there speaking to the bbc in burma. you're watching bbc world news america and still to come on the program, living large in russia. as parliamentary elections approach, we have a special report on the rampant corruption taking a huge toll on the crinlt. -- on the country. during the fighting as colonel gaddafi's forces, many were seriously injured in libya. maran is among them and one of the lucky few brought to britain for treatment. his lower right leg had to be amputated and with 50 others his progress is being closely watched. >> maran didn't come to britain expecting to lose a foot.
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but he's now coming to terms with his new process sthesses. -- pro theses. he fought alongside friends and strangers armed with a hunting rifle, one bullet exploded in thinks lower right leg, shattering his bones. his surgeon says amputation was the best option. >> he had a severe injury to the bones to the leg. but he had also, baugs of the blast injury, -- because of the blast injury, had lost a lot of soft tshue including his ankle -- tissue including his ankle joint. it was clear he had deep infection. you could see the status of the wound and you could also smell the bacteria. >> maran had his lower right leg removed the day muammar gaddafi was captured and killed and his physical therapist said he is making good progress. >> since the surgery, he can
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probably see now that he's making progress. and that he's actually going to return to a fully independent life and be able to do all the things that he was doing before. >> the patient himself remains philosophical. >> when i left home, and i went to fight, i was expecting to die. all options were there. and a destiny from god and i believe in that. so i accepted this. >> bbc news, at a hospital in west london. >> all this week, we've been building up to russia's parliamentary elections which take place on sunday. the biggest electoral question is how many seats vladimir putin's ruling party will take? but the biggest political concern for most russians is corruption. when mr. putin became president in 2000, he vowed to crack down on the oligarches, that small
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group of businessmen who seized control of russia's wealth. but today, it's corrupt civil servants who are on the take. from moscow, daniel sanford investigates. >> in a moscow graveyard, the tomb of a young corporate lawyer who died in prison after a severe beating and months of medical neglect. he had been investigating a tax fraud of over $100 million pounds. but the tax officials and policemen he accused of organizing it turned the tables on him and had him arrested. within a year, he was dead. the government's tax inspector who had signed off the huge rebates at the heart of the case. and her family became multimillionaires soon afterward. her mother-in-law is now the registered owner of this ultra modern luxury house worth over 10 million pounds. her husband bought villas in dubai and montenegro. she claims the money came from her husband's business.
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but their tax returns show a joint income of only 20,000 pounds. >> it's terrible. i don't know how these people live with themselves. they have no conscience. and i find it very difficult to come to terms with that. >> for many observers the deaths of sergei magnosky epitomizes modern russia's biggest problems. out of control officials enriching themselves. and nobody to bring them to account. outside moscow behind huge fences, dozens of secretive luxury estates have sprouted up. these 10 million pound houses should be way out of the reach of any public servant. but they're not. >> from 40% to 60% of the buyers of housing in russia, top end housing in russia, are russian government employees.
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>> thousands of luxury cars have been bought with taxpayers' money. top of the range mercedes, audis and b.m.w.'s. the scandal uncovered by a former k.g.b. officer and one. few voices in russia's parliament against the rampant corruption. >> our bureaucrats didn't save any money. they spent a lot for their luxury, just for their pleasure. >> the corruption is spiraling because the parliament has become a tiger. during this session on fraud, it was half empty and no one was listening. in fact, the deputies themselves were cheating. running around voting on behalf of colleagues who hadn't turned up. daniel sanford, bbc news, moscow. >> just extraordinary scenes there in the russian parliament. very worrying levels of corruption. now to a face and voice of
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natural history broadcasting whose work is known worldwide. david attenborough's extraordinary career expands almost six decades. and now uncharacteristically, he is speaking out about the dangers of climate change. nearing the end of a bbc series on the frozen plant he has warned that the speed of change in the polar regions has implications for us all. >> the antarctic continent is smothered by the world's greatest ice sheet. >> they're the remotest, coldert parts of the pilot, the polar regions and after filming there a number of years a giant of natural history broadcasting, david attenborough, is convinced that they're changing dramatically. >> this penguin is nesting of all penguins. and like the polar bear in the
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north, their lives are dependent on the sea ice. >> his big concern is the effect of rising temperatures. here a huge iceberg breaks away from greenland. this does happen naturally, but the melting could accelerate if the arctic and part of antarctica continue to warm up. >> it's not like that there. >> when i met david attenborough for an interview, he explained that it was the speed of change that was most striking and worrying. >> this change is extremely swift. this change is happening within our lifetime. and we've seen it happening. and that is a -- in geological terms, in ecological terms, mugely swift -- hugely swift. you can adapt to slow change, quick change is much more difficult. >> one of the great features of the ant arctic coast, the wilkens ice shelf, is seeing broken up.
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the frozen planet crew filmed huge fissures running through it. this on its own doesn't prove anything but fits into a pattern of change. >> it's not beyond possibility that warming will actually cause sea level rises and london -- >> is there a risk of sounding too alarmist about this? >> i try not to. the fact is that we know these changes are happening. the evidence for in a is incontrovertible -- for that is incontrovertible. and if they go on, they will have catastrophic effects on the human race. >> and behind this concern is the lifelong passion for which he's best known. wildlife. but his favorite polar creature is quite surprising. >> i think a caterpillar that lives for 14 years and is
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frozen solid, frozen solid to its core, 14 times, which takes 14 years to accumulate enough food to allow it to go into a moth. that's amazing. >> what about the future? scientists can't be sure about the rate of melting. but we do know that distant regions that once seemed irrelevant feel much closer to us now. >> the ever wonderful david attenborough there speaking to our david shugman. that brings today's show to a close, see what we're working on at the moment and updates and our facebook page as well. and from world news america, thanks so much for watching. you have a great weekend.
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>> make sense of international news at >> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. and union bank. >> union bank has put its global financial strength to work for a wide range of companies.
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what can we do for you? >> "bbc world news america" was presented by kcet los angeles.
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(george chattering excitedly) this program was made possible by: >> ♪ i'm a whirlibird... >> chuck e. cheese's, proud supporter of pbs kids, solutes all the parents who know staying active with their kids is fun and healthy for them. >> ♪ i'm a whirlibird. >> pbs kids, where a kid can be a kid. for over 90 years, stride rite's been there, from the first wobbly walk to the first day of school, helping you choose the right shoes. stride rite is a proud sponsor of curious george. rainforest cafe, proud sponsor of curious george, reminding you that anyone can make the world a brighter place by conserving our natural resources. when you're saving one can... both: you're saving toucans! (toucan squawks) funding for curious george is provided by contributions to your pbs station...
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ooh. ...and from: (lively drum intro) ♪ you never do know what's around the bend ♪ ♪ big adventure or a brand-new friend ♪ ♪ when you're curious like curious george ♪ ♪ swing! ♪ ♪ well, every day ♪ every day ♪ ♪ is so glorious ♪ glorious ♪ george! ♪ and everything ♪ everything ♪ ♪ is so wondrous ♪ wondrous ♪ ♪ there's more to explore when you open the door ♪ ♪ and meet friends like this, you just can't miss ♪ ♪ i know you're curious ♪ curious ♪ ♪ and that's marvelous ♪ marvelous ♪ ♪ and that's your reward ♪ you'll never be bored ♪ if you ask yourself, "what is this?" ♪ ♪ like curious... ♪ like curious... curious george. ♪ oh... captioning sponsored by nbc/universal

BBC World News America
PBS December 2, 2011 4:00pm-4:30pm PST

News/Business. U.S.-targeted nightly newscast. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Syria 8, Russia 7, U.s. 7, George 6, Bbc News 4, David Attenborough 4, Pbs 4, Moscow 4, America 4, Britain 4, Us 4, London 3, Jonathan 2, Joe Biden 2, Burma 2, Tehran 2, Istanbul 2, Daniel Sanford 2, Hilda Solis 1, Maran 1
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